Archive | May 2012

Score 1 for Me…or Not

Just when you think you’re getting the hang of living overseas, it seems that the foreign country never lets you forget that, well, you’re in a foreign country.  So, ant season is upon us and it seems like this season, the ants are back with a vengeance.  Because really, these aren’t tame American ants, but African ants who say “there’s no way in hell we’re going to let you keep us out of your house this time.”  They seem to remember I armed myself with Raid, ant traps from the States, and even creative internet solutions like Borax last summer to rid them of our home.  It seems they spent the “winter” here in Dakar, sipping anti-Raid potion and beefing up their numbers.

It certainly doesn’t help that our kitchen trashcan decided to time it’s eventual demise with the onset of ant season.  Now that the lid doesn’t fully close, the ants have discovered that it is a treasure trove of goodies.  These ants here in Dakar love meat oil, meat, bread, dead roaches, and Mocha throw-up (Mocha is one of our cats).  Yesterday, I walk into the kitchen to throw something away, and there was a swarm (literally) of ants leading to, up and into the trash can. I Raided that sucker along with the trail of ants and their apparent entry way into the house.  So, here I think – Score 1 for the girly American girl who hates bugs.  But wait, Score 1 for the ants who by my bedtime had found something on the floor near the trashcan that eventually led them to the trashcan!  And, not only did they invade there, but they were all over the window near the counter devouring something (as to what I don’t know because the counter really was clean).  So, I guess really that’s Score 2 for the ants.  So, I used my trusty Raid (as that is all I have at this point), killed the ants, cleaned up the ants (because dead ants just attract more dead ants – go figure, I mean can’t the learn?), Clorox the counter area and go to bed hoping I don’t wake up to a kitchen covered in ants.  While I did not wake up to a kitchen full of ants, they were certainly out and about in good numbers scouting for food.

But wait! It doesn’t end there.  So around the time our trashcan decided to break, our only can opener decided to break as well.  While this isn’t too bad given many of the canned products here are pull top, there are some items in our house that still require a can opener.  So I venture to a store here in Dakar called Parcours, where, if you search hard enough in the store you can almost find anything you need in a pinch.  Handy, or so I thought.  So, I eventually find the trashcans, and while they did have some with a top with a potentially decent seal, they were pretty small and would require dumping twice a day.  And, for that price I figured I might as well just order one from Amazon and wait 2-3 weeks (this decision was made before the ant invasion).

On to the can opener: I searched the entire store for a can opener and just when I was about to give up, I look at the “miscellaneous” section near the cash registers and low and behold – there’s a hand-held can opener!  Hey hey! It’s not too expensive, it’s stainless steel looking, it has a good weight to it which means it might pierce the aluminum easily and make for an easy can opening experience.  Yes! Score 1 for the American girl who never imagined herself living overseas in a third world country.  Then I go to use it today.  I take it out of it’s drawer and think, wow this looks and feels like a really nice can opener. I can’t wait to use it (it’s the little things that matter here)!  I put it against the can the way you’re supposed to and squeeze the handles to pierce the top.  I squeeze as far as it will go, and…nothing. No pierce, no dent, not even a scratch. Lovely.  Guess it’s time for Amazon again.

Before I end, I must say that while it is annoying that it takes 2-3 weeks to get something in the mail from the States where normally living in the States, the time it would take would be the time it would take to drive myself to the store I feel like buying it from, I do still consider myself fortunate.  Many Americans who live overseas who aren’t with the U.S. Government don’t have the luxury of using pouch services to receive packages from the States. They have to rely on the local economy to get what they need. I bow down to you all, because I don’t think I could do it and I admire you for adapting. 🙂